Education/Prevention Team

Women’s Community Development Coordinator for the WHAI

Women’s Community Development Coordinator for the WHAI
(613) 238-5014, ext. 233

The Women and HIV Prevention Initiative (WHAI)
Each year in Ontario, about 300 women test positive for HIV. About 15% of the total number of Ontarians living with HIV are female and, alarmingly, women now make up an increasingly large proportion of new HIV cases in Ontario: 23% to 25% in 2007 and 2008 (Ontario HIV Epidemiologic Monitoring Unit 2009).

As a result of the increases in HIV/AIDS amongst women and in response to community requests for a coordinated, province-wide strategy to address increased HIV transmission in women, the AIDS Bureau of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care established the Ontario Working Group on Women and HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) was then commissioned to facilitate a pro-active community response to women’s HIV prevention needs in the city of Ottawa with the main focus being the building of capacity of local organizations to respond to women and HIV/AIDS.

The goals of this program are to reduce transmission among women, enhance local communities’ capacity to address HIV/AIDS and women, and to support women and their HIV/AIDS prevention needs. The following objectives assist in meeting these goals:

  • Structural advocacy;
  • Raising awareness about HIV and the need for women’s HIV prevention services among local community organizations and groups that serve women;
  • Working with local community organizations and groups to promote the integration of HIV/AIDS into their current programs, services and policies/procedures; and,
  • Working with staff at community organizations and groups to build their knowledge and capacity to respond to women’s HIV prevention needs (including Poz Prevention).
Women’s Outreach Coordinator

Women’s Outreach Coordinator
(613) 238-5014, ext. 235

The goal of the Women’s Outreach program is to support women living with HIV, those at risk of HIV, and those affected by HIV with prevention initiatives that address the realities specific to women in Ottawa. To achieve this goal, ACO offers outreach services and programs in various centers and gathering places for women, in hopes to make services more accessible. Programs offered through our outreach services include:

  • Educational presentations;
  • Support , advocacy, and education at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre;
  • HIV awareness programs at women’s centers such as St. Joe’s; and,
  • Health promotion through fairs, info sessions, and special events.
MSM Ethno-Cultural Resource Coordinator

MSM Ethno-Cultural Resource Coordinator
(613) 238-5014, ext. 236

The MSM Ethno-Cultural Resource Coordinator works within the Men’s Education & Prevention team and is responsible for the development and implementation of health promotion and prevention education activities in relation to ethnically and culturally diverse MSM (men who have sex with men) and trans men in the Ottawa-Carlton area. This is to be achieved through:

  • Creation of culturally targeted resources and programming for ethnically and culturally diverse MSM and trans men;
  • Development of partnerships with appropriate agencies, networks, coalitions and groups working together to promote the health of MSM and trans men from diverse communities;
  • Conducting outreach at venues and events where MSM and trans men from different ethno-cultural communities come together; and,
  • Providing HIV prevention and harm reduction information, education, and resources to increase awareness and accessibility to internal and community services for ethnically and culturally diverse MSM and trans men.
Men’s Outreach Coordinator

Men’s Outreach Coordinator
(613) 238-5014, ext. 232

61% of HIV infections in Ontario are among men who have sex with men (MSM). In an effort to produce targeted, sex-positive, holistic approaches aimed at supporting queer men’s health that recognizes their lived experience, culture, and history, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa’s (ACO) Men’s Outreach Coordinator helps mobilize male-identified volunteers to provide education, prevention, and support services in queer spaces. To create safer sex initiatives, provide harm reduction, produce programming, and support people living with HIV, ACO believes that queer men must be included in the creation and implementation of all programming aimed at them.

ACO also strongly supports the meaningful involvement of people with HIV, and runs several poz prevention resources and peer lead support groups aimed at the role poz queer men continue to play in the fight against HIV and supporting them in combating stigma, misinformation, and homophobia. Programs offered by ACO’s Men’s Outreach Coordinator include:

  • Providing information, discussion, and resources at events, bars, bathhouses, festivals and wherever else we’re wanted;
  • Training outreach volunteers in working in non-conventional highly sexualized environments, serving a population with diverse intersectionalities;
  • Organizing the Magnet Party, a party for poz guys and the guys who love them, which aims to decrease social isolation and HIV stigmatization while increasing personal agency and building support networks; and,
  • Condom distribution.
ACO’s Men’s Health and Wellness Coordinator

ACO’s Men’s Health and Wellness Coordinator
(613) 258-5014, ext. 255

The goal of the Men’s Health and Wellness project is to increase health and wellness in gay men and men who have sex with men in Ottawa. To achieve this goal, this position works to build capacity and partnerships in both the community and the ACO to improve social determinants of health, in particular capacity to reduce HIV transmission and the impact of HIV on individuals and community.

The Men’s Health and Wellness Coordinator:

  • Ensures the up to date knowledge in the community and ACO on epidemiology and social research impacting gay men and men who have sex with men;
  • Coordinates health and wellness promoting community events including the annual Snowblower festival; and,
  • Coordinates the creation and provision of workshops, information sessions and support groups for gay and MSM positive and negative men in ACO’s The Living Room as well as in the community and primary prevention materials from an anti-oppression/anti-racist framework.
Harm Reduction Program Coordinator

Harm Reduction Program Coordinator
(613) 238-5014, ext. 252

In Ottawa, as well as across Canada and around the world, the spread of HIV continues due to the lack of available and appropriate harm reduction services for people who use drugs. Ottawa has unfortunately high rates of new HIV infections among injection drug users, and high rates of hepatitis C co-infection.

In response, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa has committed to providing harm reduction services and education. This includes being a community partner to Ottawa’s Needle Exchange Program and Safer Inhalation Program.

The goals of ACO’s harm reduction program are to:

  • Provide harm reduction equipment, such as clean syringes, safer smoking supplies, disposal equipment, condoms and more, as well as providing a place to deposit used harm reduction equipment;
  • Provide information regarding safer substance use and related health issues;
  • Provide information and referrals to other services in the city, such as treatment services, housing support, food and meals, and more;
  • Support the efforts of people looking to provide harm reduction outreach in their communities;
  • Support the empowerment of people who use drugs in Ottawa; and,
  • Work with the community in challenging the stigma and discrimination of people who use substances.